TONY ELDER: When we think we know better than God, moral chaos ensues


the Lord's way leads to chaos

I've been enjoying watching Little League baseball games again this spring, as two of my grandsons participate in that pastime. However, one recent game wasn't as pleasant, primarily due to the actions of the officiating umpire.

No, I'm not complaining about the way he called balls or strikes, or about his ruling a player out on the base path when he looked to be safe. What I'm referring to goes much deeper than making erroneous judgment calls.

This particular umpire was a young man who seemed unwilling to accept his role as the one who was arbiter of the rules of the game. He failed to make firm decisions and seemed to be unduly swayed by the opinions of those around him. He quickly lost control, allowing coaches and fans to dictate to him his rulings on the field.

It seemed that he simply tried to appease whoever complained the most or the loudest. Either he didn't know the rules very well or he was afraid to take a firm stand concerning what those rules stated.

The result of his actions was chaos. It was a game full of uncertainty and confusion, numerous lengthy discussions among the coaches and umpire, and growing unrest among the vociferous fans. Meanwhile, the 5- and 6-year-olds were just trying to have fun playing a game of baseball.

I believe our society is heading down the road to such chaos. We're trying to ignore the eternal truths given to us by our Creator and instead we're making ourselves the umpires of the game of life.

In our case, it's not God's fault. He hasn't lost His backbone to exercise His authority as the supreme arbiter of the universe. Neither has He changed His mind about what's right or wrong simply because a growing number of people seem to be loudly disagreeing with His standards.

We're the problem. We think we know better than God. Many people aren't paying attention to how God rules on issues, or they think His opinions can be altered by what the majority believe or by whomever protests the loudest.

It reminds me of the time in Israel's history recorded for us in the book of Judges. That era was fittingly described in the Bible by these words: "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (Judges 21:25).

How did such an attitude work out for that society? Just read through the book of Judges and see for yourself. It was a time of terrible violence, unrestrained sexual immorality, and general moral chaos.

Yet here we are again in our day suggesting that we have no "king" or umpire to dictate what is right and wrong in our lives. We think we can make those calls ourselves. We believe everyone can do whatever they think is right and it's OK.

But if we continue to travel that road, we're going to find it leading to the same place it did for Israel -- to a destination of moral confusion and messed-up lives. As a matter of fact, I believe we're already experiencing ample results of our trek down that pathway.

But doesn't God want us to enjoy life? If by that we mean getting to do whatever we want to do -- no. Our heavenly Father knows that what will bring His children the greatest joy and blessing is living in accordance with His wise standards.

So whether it's a Little League game or life itself, ignoring the one true umpire while we all try to fill that role for ourselves will only lead to a chaotic and unpleasant experience. So let the umpire be the umpire. And let God be God.

The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by email at RevTElder@aol.com.